It’s a 3PL’s job, he notes, to be able to predict anything that could get in the way of that.
schedules as frequently as possible. The biggest impact of the current supply chain crisis has been nancial. “With fewer drivers on the market, with less equipment on the market, with more backups at ports, and with gas prices going through the roof, we’ve seen a huge escalation in cost,” says Silsbee. Current dynamics aside, project logistics is a subset of the supply chain that will always present more challenges than a typical over-the-road route, air cargo move, or intermodal/rail trip. A litany of potential roadblocks—literal and metaphorical—exist as a matter of course for project logistics. These challenges include infrastructure concerns such as determining whether existing roads and bridges can hold the weight of the cargo and, where there is no existing infrastructure—as is often the case with the remote delivery locations for wind- power projects—constructing new roads. Obtaining the right permits and adhering to the rules and regulations of each state your cargo is traveling through can also be tricky. In many places, Silsbee points out, project cargo can only move overnight, which adds to the challenge. And weather disasters can
customers are looking for in order to have true visibility of their cargo,” Silsbee explains. “Today’s systems offer live updates and alerts for things like cargo sitting for more than two hours, and the ability to measure everything from hard stops to G forces, and even atmospheric conditions, such as barometric pressure or moisture.” Predictive analytic technology is also starting to become an important tech for project logistics, adds Mitchell. Planning every element of a project goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth move. However, there are always things that occur along the way that seem impossible to predict. But are they? “Our technology includes predictive analytics to anticipate and actually avoid disruptions,” Mitchell says. “It combines status updates from all the suppliers for a project with information about weather, natural disasters, trafc, unexpected road or bridge closures, and geopolitical events to identify shipments that are at risk and prescribe actions to take to keep the project on track.” “When a client rents a crane for $100,000 a day to build a wind farm in a desert, they can’t afford for the turbines to be three days late,” he says.
MANY CHALLENGES, MANY STRATEGIES
Given the intense economic, social, and geopolitical challenges facing the supply chain, project logistics requires above-and-beyond commitment to getting the job done. The same port backlogs, worker shortages, cost increases, supply delays, and COVID- related shutdowns that have plagued the typical supply chain are heightened even further in project logistics. The frequent delays occurring at all different points along the supply chain currently have a huge ripple effect on bulk moves, since they are so carefully orchestrated. Creativity helps. “We try to look at new or different ways to transport goods for our customers,” Mitchell says. “We look at whether we can pack things differently, so we have additional transport options— maybe we can move part of the cargo on ocean carriers, part on bulk carriers, or roll-on/roll-off carriers.” C.H. Robinson also works with shippers to build extra time into their
The Port of Wilmington recently handled shipments of wind blades from GE for renewable energy projects. Each blade is more than 200 feet long and weighs more than 13.5 tons. After unloading, the port transported the blades a short distance to the on-port storage area.
156 Inbound Logistics • July 2022
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